Well my bike arrived in seven business days, in two boxes, some assembly required. I was worried about how the Bikes Direct purchase would go, but it was as smooth as any online ordering I have done in the past. I would now recommend Bikes Direct if your LBS is unable to supply you with the bike you need. I tried to get a Trek Belleville, but Trek has none in stock and they might not be making them in 56cm again this year. I wanted a Steel Frame, Internal Hub, Racks, Fenders, and a classic look. I feel the fit these requirements the best.
I had my LBS put the bike together, and I believe they were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the bike itself.
The bike is really nice. Steel frame is nice to look at, and I found no paint issues at all. The fenders are steel, and so are the racks. The rear rack is fairly heavy duty at three pounds.
My first ride was 15 miles on the Nickel Plate trail with fellow bikeforums member yep20. It was fairly windy out, and I could feel the wind with the panniers a little bit. It was very stable, quiet, and smooth. The shifting is amazing! The eight speed nexus hub is simply brilliant.
While getting up to speed you can feel the weight, it certainly does not accelerate like my Cervelo, and that was to be expected. Once at speed it is silky smooth and easy to keep going. I was impressed that the factory grips and seat are actually not bad. I was going to get a Brooks, but after being on the bike for an hour or so it really did not feel bad. The bike soaks up the surface.
I bought Sunlite Traveler 1 Pannier and a Sunlite Trunk. The Panniers have the room I need and should be protected from the rain, although I will be a fair weather rider.
I have some shimano pedals on order. They are normal platform on one side, and I can clip in on the other side. That way I can ride with or without cycling shoes. I need to figure out my lighting before I start my commute, so I open for suggestions. They will need to be able to operate a few hours a day, as my commute is 17-20 miles one way and my budget is $120.00.
Well here are some pictures from my cell phone. I will be taking some better pictures this weekend with my digital camera.